Chicken Tikka Masala

We almost always get Chicken Tikka Masala when we go out to eat at Indian restaurants so we want to perfect making it at home.  We've tried the sauce that comes in a jar and you just simmer with the chicken and it doesn't taste anywhere near the same.  There are hundreds of different recipes for this, but this one comes very close and we're working on perfecting it.

Prep Time: 
  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken, cut in 1 inch cubes (We used thigh meat)


  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground red pepper (We used 1/4 teaspoon and it was still spicy)
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 piece minced ginger (1" long) (or 2 teaspoons ground ginger)


  • 2 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter) (or olive oil)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (1 teaspoon if you like it hotter)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 (14 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar

Night Before

  • Mix ingredients for marinade
  • Marinate chicken overnight

Make Sauce

  • Heat ghee in a large skillet over medium heat and cook and stir onion until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in garlic; cook and stir just until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Stir cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, ginger, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, and turmeric into the onion mixture; fry until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  • Stir tomato sauce into the onion and spice mixture, bring to a boil, and reduce heat to low.
  • Simmer sauce for 10 minutes

Cook Chicken

  • While sauce is simmering, in a separate skillet, cook chicken until cooked through.

Put it Together

  • Mix cream, paprika, and 1 tablespoon sugar into the sauce.
  • Transfer chicken to sauce and discard marinade.
  • Bring sauce back to a simmer and cook, stirring often, until sauce is thickened, 10 to 15 minutes.
  • ​Garnish with cilantro Serve with basmati rice, naan or pita bread.


tbt's picture
Submitted by tbt on

Definitely not something you make on a last minute whim, but it's worth it. Having two people helped a lot since you're doing a lot of things at once. I'm working on improving the directions since the original was all over the place.